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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 6, 2009 at 5:00 PM

Killing spree

Courtney Blethen / The Seattle Times

A memorial to honor five children who were murdered by their father sits near this Graham-area home. A vigil for was held Sunday night for family, friends and neighbors to gather and remember.

Killings are unacceptable

Editor, The Times:

In the past month, 53 people have died in mass shootings in America.

Friday, 14 died in Binghamton, N.Y. [“Mass shooting leaves 14 dead,” page one, April 4]. Saturday, three cops died in Pittsburgh [“3 police officers fatally shot,” News, April 5]. Locally, five children were slain by their father [“5 kids slain in Graham,” page one, April 5].

This is ridiculous.

How is the Second Amendment supposed to defend us as a nation when so many Americans fall victim to firearms by it? Have we forgotten what has long plagued this nation before our economic troubles?

I do not understand how people who actively support the Second Amendment can call themselves patriots while most of us cannot open a newspaper or turn on a TV without seeing the bodies of our innocent dead lying in the streets or in their homes.

None of these murders occurred in the defense of one’s property or family. These are Americans who are dying.

We are not subject to invasion. We are not a nation of barbarians.

History and the media have often taught us that in desperation and despair, a firearm can turn a good man into a ruthless killer. These are indeed hard times for us all, but because of that we should not subject ourselves to such violent capacities that have been long enabled by archaic laws.

This needs to change. America needs to evolve.

— Ryan Brill, Kirkland

Firearm laws to blame in N.Y.

Once again, the negative effects of overly strict firearms laws has cost the lives of many people, this time in the gun-control haven of New York State.

The guns used by Jiverly Voong were registered with the state of New York, and Voong had a license to possess them. Gun-control advocates would have you believe registration and licensing would prevent or limit such incidents. Obviously not.

As with similar shootings across the country, the incident was over in just a few minutes, just as police officers began to respond to the 911 call. The old saying goes, “When help is needed in seconds, the police will be there in minutes.”

That’s not a criticism of the police; it’s a simple statement of fact. All too frequently in situations such as this or at Virginia Tech two years ago, the gunman kills himself when police arrive.

It’s no coincidence that most shootings like this take place in so-called “gun-free zones,” meaning law-abiding citizens are disarmed while criminals are free to spread their violence and mayhem.

Obtaining a license to carry a firearm for protection is extremely difficult in New York. But 40 states do allow citizens who meet objective criteria to obtain carry permits.

It’s time we leveled the playing field and allowed responsible adults to protect themselves and their neighbors in all venues. Like lightning, you never know where a lunatic will strike next.

— Joe Waldron, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, Pensacola, Fla.

Call for stricter gun laws

In a week of mass murders, guns killed people. All along the Mexican border, guns kill people. It’s obvious now that the National Rifle Association is in bed with drug cartels and the violent mentally ill.

When an angry man without a gun throws a tantrum, he just shouts. At worst, he swings a fist or a bat. Committing mass murder is highly unlikely. But easy access to cheap handguns and assault weapons makes this man a thousand times more dangerous and tears at the very fabric of civilization.

Gun laws don’t threaten our freedom. Gun laws protect our freedom. Yet the NRA tries to frighten the simple-minded with a paranoid non sequitur, a slippery-slope argument. Restricting cheap handguns and assault weapons, they claim, is the government’s first step toward confiscating your hunting rifle and granddad’s shotgun. This is like saying that when police arrest a drunken driver, they must be planning to confiscate all our cars.

Drug-runners need jail. Mental cases need health care. But we all need stricter laws on gun ownership and a total ban on assault weapons.

— Alfred K. LaMotte, Steilacoom

Second Amendment enabled killings

So the young man who shot several police officers in Pittsburgh was afraid the Obama administration would take away his guns. Wow, he did his cause a lot of good, didn’t he?

As for the man who killed 13 of his fellow immigrants in Binghamton, N.Y., he was reportedly upset that people made fun of him for his difficulties with the English language. These people were all taking classes meant to teach them “how to be Americans,” according to National Public Radio.

He may have had trouble with English, but with the help of the NRA’s interpretation of the Second Amendment, he graduated summa cum laude ahead of the rest of his class.

— Linda Hill, Bothell

Comments | More in crime/justice, Gun control


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